The Seattle Seahawks may have given up their first-round pick in the upcoming draft in the trade that brought them Percy Harvin, but they’ve already proven that they can find first-round talent late in the draft. Seattle General Manager John Schneider and Head Coach Pete Carroll have teamed up to find some gems outside of the first-round.
It all started in the 2010 draft, where the Seahawks took a chance on a Safety out of Virginia Tech by the name of Kam Chancellor. Chancellor was seen as a risky pick because most scouts believed he was too big and slow to play safety, but not big enough to play linebacker. The Seahawks decided to take a chance (no pun intended) on Chancellor by taking him in the fifth-round. You might say that it paid off, as he made the Pro Bowl in 2011, just his second year in the NFL.
The 2011 NFL Draft was even more lucrative for the Seahawks, as they were able to steal First Team All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman in the fifth-round. They didn’t stop there, though. They also picked up a two-year starter in linebacker K.J. Wright and offensive guard John Moffitt, who has started numerous games, in the third-round. They also found a couple of solid contributors when they took cornerback Byron Maxwell in the sixth-round and linebacker Malcolm Smith in the seventh-round.
Now, to examine what was arguably the best draft class in the history of the Seattle Seahawks franchise, which came from the 2012 NFL Draft. In the first-round, they took defensive end Bruce Irvin 15th overall, a pick that came under heavy scrutiny. Irvin silenced his critics by amassing eight sacks in his rookie year. With their second-round pick, they selected Bobby Wagner, who started every game at middle linebacker for the Seahawks this past season and led the team in tackles. Many felt that Wagner should have been named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, but that honor instead went to fellow linebacker Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers.
In the third round of the 2012 draft, the Seahawks got what appears to be one of the greatest steals in recent draft history when they drafted quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson was only expected to come in and back up free agent signing Matt Flynn last season, but he ended up having a stellar preseason and beat out Flynn for the starting job. He ended up leading the Seahawks to the playoffs as a rookie last year while tying Peyton Manning’s record for most touchdown passes thrown by a rookie quarterback and earning himself an invitation to the Pro Bowl along the way.
The Seahawks went on to finish this draft in a big way. They found a pretty solid backup running back for Marshawn Lynch when they picked up Robert Turbin in the fourth round and added depth to their secondary in the sixth-round by drafting cornerback Jeremy Lane and safety Winston Guy. In the seventh-round they picked up one of the more interesting players in the draft, J.R. Sweezy. Sweezy was a defensive lineman in college, but the Seahawks took him because they thought they could transform him into a serviceable interior offensive lineman and they did just that. The converted Sweezy ended up starting five games at offensive tackle for the Seahawks last season.
It will definitely be intriguing to see what the Seahawks will do this year in a draft that seems almost tailor-made for them. There isn’t much talent that jumps off the board in round one, but scouts are expecting the later rounds to offer a great deal of hidden gems.
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